Hopelessly hoarding v Freely giving
A grateful heart: Putting our money where our mouth is – the danger of building treasure on earth and the freedom of poverty
Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.
A while ago I was on a mission trip to Rwanda when our bus broke down. We were helped out by a local trader and since he was going along the same route, we decided to give him a lift. I was intrigued and asked how much it cost him to set up his trading business. He looked depressed as he lamented that the £40 he borrowed to start the business was accruing interest and he was actually making no profit. It was impressed on my heart to give him £50 from my pocket. Enough to pay the loan and establish him. The joy of being used by God to be a blessing was exciting for me, but it was nothing compared to the joy and excitement the local trader exhibited as both of us gave God the glory.
Generosity, gratitude to God, and God’s glory are key principles which should govern our attitude to money. I’ve always wondered whether those who are richly blessed and wealthy understand the purpose of God’s blessing to them. God created believers who are humble in their circumstances or lacking in material wealth, just as he created the wealthy who seem all sufficient.
I can almost imagine God addressing a room full of both constituencies. To the rich he would say, I gave you wealth as a means to help the poor, but not to withhold what you have from others for self-indulgence, self-gratification or to gather treasures in the last days. When the rich understand the joy that their generosity can bring to the poor, and the glory that can go to God, they themselves become fulfilled.
I can also imagine God addressing the poor. To them he says, you may be overlooked in the world, where status and wealth are so important to people, but you are close to my heart.
Jesus said ‘‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God’ (Luke 6:20). When someone is in need, they have to rely on God – they have no other option. Concerns about riches and possessions don’t get in the way. And when we all stand before God, riches mean nothing. But rich or poor, we are all invited to participate in building God’s kingdom and bringing glory to God. Riches give the wealthy person opportunities to bless others. Whatever our circumstances, there is always someone worse off who needs our help.
Questions for reflection:
1. What resources have you been blessed with by God?
2. Is God challenging you to live a life of generosity?
3. Is God directing you to release your riches to a particular group of people?
God, help me to see what I have that will bless others and bring glory to your name.
Written by Yemi Adedeji
Canon Yemi Adedeji is both an Anglican Priest and a Pentecostal pastor, a church leadership consultant, director of the One People Commission at Evangelical Alliance and Associate Director with HOPE – Twitter: @Revyemmy
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